*** My welcome keynote speech that I delivered at the beginning of the Blognix Retreat on 27th February 2016. ***
When I started blogging 8 years ago I would never EVER had imagined that I would be standing here, in front of you, a group of brilliant, inspiring creators, hosting a weekend-long event.
There I was in a hostel in Bangkok, finding a way to share my stories with my loved ones back home.
What started as a way of sharing my stories, soon became a habit, some might say a bit of an addiction! Sharing and connecting online grew into a way of life for me.
By 2010 I was so accustomed to this online storytelling that I started my personal lifestyle blog, Rosalilium. It wasn’t called a lifestyle blog back then. In fact, the blog was initially called Something To Write Home About. It was simply a collection of musings, ideas, and things I loved.
Within months I discovered a huge community of other bloggers sharing their own musings, ideas and things they loved.
My addiction by this point became a full blown obsession.
This opportunity to have a voice. To connect with likeminded people. To learn. To seek inspiration.
It was incredibly fulfilling.
Soon my blog developed a readership and I began to receive opportunities. I got a paid job writing for another website. I was featured in print publications such as The Sunday Times. I felt like I found my place. I belonged.
And that is the fantastic thing about the blogosphere – it is a place for everyone and anyone to carve out their own space. To find a voice. To connect. To belong.
Over the years, as my skills and experience developed, this blogging malarkey became my job and then it became my business.
I do all manner of digital activities with my business. I run my two blogs – Rosalilium and Awesome Wave. I do social media training for corporate clients. I do consultancy. I offer coaching for bloggers. And of course, I do this crazy thing called Blognix.
If you’d told me 6 years that I would be running my own business I would have laughed and shrugged it off. It was never my intention, it was never a goal. But now?! I cannot imagine my life any other way. I feel so fortunate to be have the opportunities that I do.
But it is damn hard work. Believe me.
So that is why we are here this weekend. Blogging has morphed from simply being an online diary into a business opportunity. It has become this unique platform for anyone, anywhere, to create awesome content, build a loyal audience, and ultimately create a livelihood from themselves.
The Blognix Retreat is both a space and an opportunity for you as creators to really think about what you want from your blog. Develop new ideas. Connect with others in the same industry, but possibly from other niches. And of course, to just switch off from ‘normal’ life for the weekend.
We’ve tried to keep the schedule relaxed. The emphasis is on space to think and connect. Usually conferences rush you through a 30 minute lunch break. We’re giving you an hour and a half.
We want you to chat to as many people here as possible. We want you to take the space you need. We want you to share ideas, best practices. We want you to form new alliances, seek out future collaborators. YOU are the ones that will make this space special.
Blognix was founded 3 years ago out of a desire to bring together bloggers from ALL niches. I wanted to move beyond events targeting a specific demographic or interest group.
I guess it’s the Anthropology training in me, but I KNOW there is so much potential from gathering groups of people from different backgrounds, with different expertise.
The aim of Blognix is to celebrate the positivity in the blogging community. To lift each other up. To be generous with our knowledge. To share our ideas. To give.
I believe in abundance. I think there is room for everyone in the blogosphere. We each have a unique voice and with that comes the opportunity for all of us to succeed. Blognix is founded on the principle that everyone is welcome in the blogging community.
Competition should never be a factor in our dealings with one another.
We are peers. Collaborators. Supporters. Cheerleaders. Mentors. Mentees. Leaders. Creators. And business owners.
When you’re on an expedition they say you are only as strong as the weakest member of your team. Well, in the blogosphere we will ALL fare better if we lift the community up together.
So let’s be generous. Open. Receptive. Thoughtful. Creative.
The Blognix motto has always been – learn, connect, inspire.
Those three words are your goals for this weekend.